F.C. Manager Says No Problems In December Water Bills

January 13, 2014 8:18 PM5 comments

Falls Church City Manager Wyatt Shields reported at tonight’s City Council meeting that despite some citizen reports on local websites, no significant anomalies in the water bills sent out in December has been found. “Nothing has indicated any problem,” he said, adding that there has also not been an unusual volume of calls from citizens questioning their bills.

However, he did announce that a phone line at City Hall dedicated to fielding questions about such matters has been opened up at (703) 248-5108. With the completion of the sale of the F.C. water system to Fairfax County on Jan. 3, Shields said, the City’s office to handle customer queries was closed and customers urged to call the county. However, because of customer concerns in the transition it was decided to reopen a local phone line.

Shields also said a final bill from Falls Church based on meter readings as of Jan. 3 will be sent out later this month. He said that December bills were for three months that included September, a very dry month that resulted in unusually high levels of water use.

The following is the full text of statement issued by the F.C. City Manager’s office tonight:

The City thanks its water customers for patience as we researched the potential issue with the most recent cycle of water bills. We have opened a customer service line for customers who would like to discuss their Falls Church water bill: 703-248-5108. (For immediate service issues like water main breaks, please contact Fairfax Water at 703-698-5800.) The representatives are available during business hours to discuss individual water bills. We ask that anyone who has concerns please call the customer service number, 703-248-5108. 

The City has looked into overall consumption to see if there is anything unusual. Collectively, water consumption for the September/October/November quarter was higher (+ 3.4%) relative to the same period in 2012; this is not surprising, as we had a drier-than-normal Aug. and Sept. 2013 and a wetter-than-normal Sept. 2012. 

Customer service has walked a number of customers through their bill on the phone, and the trend has been that either a) the consumption is normal, but their bill is larger than normal because they had a past due balance from a prior bill, b) they remember they actually did water the lawn quite a bit back in the early fall, or c) they find that they had a leaking toilet or faucet down in the basement of which they weren’t aware. 

Regardless of the reason, customer service is happy to talk with customers and get to the bottom their concerns. Please call 703-248-5108 during business hours.

  • Dennis Szymanski

    According to FCC Communications Office, 4th Qtr 2013 City-wide water usage was 3.4% higher than 4thQtr2012. Doesn’t sound like 2013 usage was “unusually high”
    compared to 2012 yet quite a number of homeowners are reporting increases of 20% or more, as well as other anomalies.

  • David

    I believe one customer noted a 3,000 gallon increase. Hard to imagine that was the result of a dry spell or leaky faucet, but perhaps that’s an outlier.

    More concerning is the City’s foolish decision to shut down its customer service office concurrent with customers’ receipt of the final bill. Didn’t anyone at FC Water foresee an issue with shutting down a customer service center while bills were being received?

    • Mike Smith

      No need to keep the Customer Service office open. The residents of the Little City will have to start getting used to Fairfax’s version of customer service; which is pretty much none at all.

      • David

        Frankly, other than the police department, most of the FC gov’t offices I’ve dealt with don’t have much cust service either. And the water department’s move here–closing the minute final bills were sent– is apparently proof of that.

        No worries though…the employees involved will now simply be employed by Fairfax and get to keep their pensions.

  • JFallsChurch

    Here is a trend…I predict my bill will increase for same amount of usage. This last bill cycle, my usage dropped by 3,000 gallons from previous, my bill decrease by $10. My last bill had same amount of usage as 3/6/2013 billing period but my bill increased by $30.

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